by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant
Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year to cherish your significant other, but it can also be a good time to make sure if you’re in a relationship, it’s a healthy one.
According to The NO MORE Project, one in every three teens will experience an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are three times more likely than the rest of the population to experience and about one-third of the adolescent population America are victims to sexual, physical, verbal or emotional dating abuse.
Physical and emotional abuse in adolescent relationships can cause long-term effects such as increased chances of alcoholism, suicide, depression and other diseases, says Linda Chamberlain Ph.D. Heightened risks of STI’s and pregnancies can also be side effects of abusive relationships.
Unhealthy and abusive relationships happen across all types of relationships, including ones in the LGBT community. In fact, the Urban Institute found the rates of dating violence among LGBT youth is higher than non-LGBT youth. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), “transgender youth reported the highest rates of dating violence, with 88.9 percent reporting physical dating violence.”
“The reasons for the unusually higher rates of teen dating violence within the LGBTQ community need further research, but early indicators point toward the limited curricula around topics of teen dating violence, domestic and sexual violence prevention education and inclusive sex education,” said David Gardner, Acting Director of MSU’s Gender and Sexuality Programs.
Gardner also noted the HRC’s suggestion that non-inclusive sex education has led to myths like “men cannot be victims of intimate partner violence,” or “that women cannot be violent to their partners.”
The HRC also says these myths further marginalize LGBTQ survivors who may already be more reluctant to report their abuse or access counseling and other resources because they fear being discriminated against or outed as LGBTQ.
It’s not always clear if you or someone you know may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, but Liz Steinborn-Gourley, Director of the Women’s Center at MSU, says these eight items can be red flags and warning signs:
- Being pressured into unwanted sexual activity.
- Constantly monitoring where you are and who you are with.
- Vandalizing or ruining your stuff.
- Excessive jealousy or insecurity.
- Explosive temper.
- Invasion of your privacy.
- Falsely accusing you of things.
- Threatening or causing physical violence.
There are several options for students seeking help with abusive and unhealthy relationships including speaking with a confidential advocate in the Violence Awareness Response Program in CSU 218 or at 507-389-6146, or speaking with a counselor in the Counseling Center (507-389-1455). Additionally, if students need to report dating abuse, they can contact a University Security Officer at 507-389-2111 or the staff in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX 507-389-2986. Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) also operates a 24-hour crisis line, +1-800-477-0466, that students can call.
LGBT community members and allies are also encouraged to join the LGBT Center Tuesday, April 9, at noon in CSU 201 for a special presentation by OutFront MN called “It Happens to Us, Too,” which focuses on intimate partner violence within the LGBT community.
More information on teen dating violence and LGBT dating violence can be found by visiting https://www.teendvmonth.org/ or https://www.hrc.org/resources/teen-dating-violence-among-lgbtq-youth.